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These dhb R2.0C Carbon Road Cycling shoes are like many other dhb products; not too fancy, but they do their job really well, and they come at a fair price. They're light and stiff, making them ideal for racing, sportives, training or just the sportier side of leisure cycling.
The dhb range of cycle clothing is an in-house brand at Wiggle, the on-line cycle superstore. The R2.0C shoes are the new version of dhb's RC shoes, which are now discontinued, and similar to dhb's R1.0s. As well as the carbon soles being a major difference, there's a couple of other variations as well, which I'll come to later.
But first - the carbon soles. These do their job very well. They are very stiff, meaning no bendy feet, which means all the power from your legs is transferred to the pedals. They're also light, and a weight reduction - especially in rotating weight - in theory means less effort is required to keep the pedals turning.
The shoes accept only three-hole cleats (eg, Look and SPD-SL) and I bolted in my Look Keo cleats with no bother. As befitting a racing-style cycling shoe, the soles do not have a recess for the cleats, meaning you walk on the cleats when you're off the bike. On each shoe, there's a small horseshoe-shaped heel stud and a few similar studs under the toe area to aid walking and keep you from scuffing the carbon sole, but these studs are made from hard plastic, with no grip, which makes a walk on smooth floor-tiles rather precarious.
The only other features of the soles are a couple of ventilation slots fore and aft, covered in mesh - presumably to stop grit getting inside, or maybe particularly tenacious insects.
The upper part of the shoes consist of leather-look synthetic fabric around the base, ankle, tongue and toe box, with some mesh panels along each side for ventilation. The toe box also has some slighly retro-looking breather holes to help air in, or moisture out, depending on conditions. Compared to some other shoes, there's not a huge amount of ventilation - which might be a problem if you ride a lot in hot conditions (but won't be a problem if you're riding in the UK this year).
The R2.0C shoes are available in black or white. On the black version, the overall appearance of the shoe is rather staid and low-key, but for cyclists who prefer less bling this style will be an advantage. The white version looks a bit more modern, but is still relatively low-key compared to some other brands out there. On both colour options, there's also a few bits of red and reflective silver trim.
The inner lining is also bright red and extends a long way above the 'rim' of the shoe. Style-conscious riders who like all their kit to match will be forced to dress only in complementary shades of red.
The shoes are fastened with three straps, the top one closed with a ratchet and the other two with Velcro. The ratchet feels positive, and the release button make it easy to fine-tune the fit of the shoe on the go.
The lining is made from something called 'quad-core mesh' which provides a good degree of padding without your feet feeling sloppy inside. The insoles are also slightly spongy, thanks to ribbing on the underside, but they didn't seem to stop all the vibrations coming up through the soles, so I swapped these out for my own personal insoles (which also provide a bit more arch support to spread the load) and these proved more comfortable.
The insoles supplied with these shoes have a few ventilation holes that line up with the ventilation slots in the soles. If you swap them for other insoles, the holes may not line up with the slots, but this isn't a major issue unless you're in hot conditions, when it's the work of a moment with a hole-punch to get a breeze round your metatarsals once again.
On sizing, I take 43 in Shimano and Specialized shoes, and find them fine of length and width (I have wide feet). These dhb R2.0C shoes are also 43 and perfect on length. However, I found them very slightly on the narrow side. Not enough to mean going up a size, but definitely noticeable. This contrasts with the dhb R1.0 shoes tested previously, which fitted perfectly all round. I assume the carbon version must be made on a slightly narrower last. I now wear very thin socks in these R2.0C shoes, and that seems to solve the problem. if you've got average width feet a doubt this will be an issue.
Retailing at a penny less than £90, these shoes compared well to carbon-soled shoes from other brands, and are very good value for the weight and performance provided.
No-bling carbon-soled road shoes, offering light weight and good performance in a good value package.
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Make and model: dhb R2.0C Carbon Road Cycling shoes
Size tested: White/Red, 43
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Wiggle website says: "The R2.0C is the big brother to the R1.0. The key difference between these shoes is the 100 percent Carbon Fibre composite sole. Carbon Fibre composite has a phenomenal inherent stiffness to weight ratio, which means a relatively small amount of material can be used to create the ultimate power transfer platform. The 3K carbon fibre (3K refers to the number of fibres per bundle) is laid up in a 1x1 Plain weave to achieve the tightest 3 dimensional mapping across the design of the sole. A top layer of high gloss lacquer protects the bold aesthetic of the carbon fibre weave. TPU Protector nodules at the heel and toe end of the shoe (where the shoe will receive most contact) help to reduce aesthetic wear on the sole when walking."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Wiggle website emphasises these key features:
100 percent Carbon Fibre composite sole
Quad core air mesh inserts
All-round ventilation holes
Injection molded polymer heel counter
360 degree reflective detailing
3-hole cleat ready
Cleats - 3 Bolt Look Type
Construction seems very good. I've already scuffed the carbon soles, but that's inevitable on any shoe.
The weight-to-stiffness ratio of the soles provides excellent performance.
I've done a few hundred test miles in these shoes, but so far durability seems very good.
These shoes weigh 868g the pair. Not super-light compared to other brands, so marked on weight alone they get 7.
As mentioned in the review, I found these shoes pinched a bit on width, compared to other brands I use (and including another dhb shoe), but I've got wide feet, so cyclists with average feet will have no problem.
There are lighter shoes out there, but not at this price.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Stiff sole. Light weight. Good value.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Personally, I don't like the loud red lining that shows above the shoe.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not, as thse shoes felt just a tad tight on my wide feet.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, especially if they dressed a lot in red and liked their shoes to match.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Overall, for most cyclists, these shoes represent a great choice: light, stiff and at a very fair price. The relatively low-key look may not appeal to everyone, but for those who prefer less bling it'll be another plus point.
Age: 51 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,